Editorial: Unite behind the Calcasieu Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America

The Calcasieu Area Council, Boy Scouts

of America, has been a part of Southwest Louisiana for more than a

century. It

is a shame that the United Way of Southwest Louisiana is

considering altering funding for the organization because of a new

national United Way policy.

The Boy Scouts didn’t meet United Way’s new criteria for the “at-risk” population of the area. Punishing the area Boy Scout

council for failing to adapt the at-risk program would amount to a loss of $121,000, or 20 percent of its current funding.

That is tantamount to an unfunded mandate.

The Boy Scout response to this adversity showed a determination to meet this new challenge in a way that does honor to the

organization.

Council President Tom Price said, “We teach our youth in scouting how to face challenges and overcome them.” He added, “That

is exactly what the council shall do. Scouting will continue in Southwest Louisiana.”

The Boy Scouts builds boys into men of honor and integrity. That’s exactly what Southwest Louisiana and the nation needs more

than ever. Funding the Boy Scout program is a proactive approach to meeting a need and building leaders in our community.

Our local Boy Scout council has more than 100 years of success in serving the youth of Southwest Louisiana.

In fact, Lake Charles’ Troop 1,

organized in 1912, was the very first BSA Troop, not only in Louisiana,

but west of the Mississippi

River. It was led by Scoutmaster Seaman A. Mayo of Lake Charles.

Today, there are seven Boy Scout councils in Louisiana.

The local United Way board apparently didn’t have to adopt the new “at-risk” policy, but chose to do so.

Allocating United Way money is not an easy task. Even though the local campaign routinely raises more than $4 million annually,

the needs in the community are many, the resources finite. There are a plethora of agencies that merit full funding.

Fortunately, the United Way of

Southwest Louisiana’s Allocation and Review Committee, made up of 100

community volunteers,

will review and make its final recommendations on funding for all

agencies next month. So there is still time for adjustments.

The United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s funding proposal for the Calcasieu Boy Scouts Council certainly was floated without

malice. Nevertheless, it could have unintended crippling consequences on a program that has a proven track record.

The Calcasieu Council serves the entire five-parish area. Let all of Southwest Louisiana unite behind the Calcasieu Council,

BSA, including the United Way.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.